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Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice is, by definition, any form of professional negligence, either by action or non-action, of a health care provider where the care provided is not consistent with standard medical practices and causes injury to the patient. Simply put, it means that if a doctor or a nurse makes a mistake, either in treatment or diagnosis and it causes the patient harm in some way that is considered medical malpractice. The standards and regulations that health care providers are to follow will vary by both country and jurisdiction.

If you believe that you may have become a victim of medical malpractice, you should contact and seek the counsel of a medical malpractice attorney. Once you have contacted am attorney they will investigate the possible malpractice and choose the best course of action. If a lawsuit is filed, both parties will have to go to court to settle the dispute.

Who is Involved?

In any court case there are two parties, the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case would be the patient. In cases of a wrongful-death suit, the person who is the executor of the deceased’s estate would take the role of the plaintiff.

The defendant would be the person or persons responsible for the alleged medical malpractice. In some cases it can be a single person, a doctor, a nurse, or even a dentist. In cases that may involve corporate negligence, a suit can be brought against hospitals, clinics and managed care organizations.

What constitutes Medical Malpractice?

There are four things that must be proven in court for a medical malpractice suit to be effective.

  • A duty was owed
  • A duty was breached
  • The breach caused an injury
  • Damages occurred

The severity of a medical malpractice lawsuit requires that each of these four criteria be met and proven. A brief explanation is required due to the importance of each criterion.

The first point, “A duty was owed,�? is whenever a hospital or health care provider takes on the treatment of a patient whether it is in the form of treatment, diagnosis or advice. This establishes the relationship between doctor and patient.

When “A duty was breached�?, this means the health care provider failed to meet an important standard in the care of the patient at the time of assistance, treatment or diagnosis. This is normally established by expert testimony or, in the case of an object left in a patient, the object itself will be testimony enough.

If “The breach caused an injury�?, and then something that the health care provider did caused harm in some form to the patient. This must be proven that as a direct result of actions, lack of action or information, the patient came to harm.

Lastly, in order for the case to proceed, “Damages occurred�? to the patient. This means that some form of physical harm or emotional distress came about as a result of the medical malpractice of the health care provider.

These four criteria are paramount to proving that medical malpractice occurred and must all be proven to be true otherwise it can easily be determined that medical malpractice did not occur.

The Costs of Medical Malpractice

All doctors are required to have medical malpractice insurance, as it can be an extremely expensive situation to be sued for malpractice. The cost of this insurance will increase if a doctor has been sued. The more cases that are filed and won, the more the insurance companies have to pay out. When this happens, in order to make a profit, the insurance company will raise the rates of their insurance to recoup the money lost in a malpractice case. Many times this added cost, as with anything else, is passed onto the consumer or, in this case, the patient. It becomes, for lack of better terms, a snowball effect in costs.

There are truly legitimate cases of medical malpractice and they should definitely go to court; however, the number or frivolous cases presented each year, while many of them lose, still cost the insurer money. These cases not only take up valuable court time from serious cases, but also cause the expense of care to rise, which causes hospitals and doctors to charge more. When this happens, the patient submits their claim to their personal health insurance company who, over time, in the need to make a profit, raise their rates back to the consumer. In the end, the patient ends up paying for the costs of medical malpractice lawsuits.

This is why it is so very important to make sure the case is legitimate and meets all the criteria of a medical malpractice case.

How to Proceed?

Once it has been determined that you are a medical malpractice, you should consult with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer. They are specialized in dealing with these types of situations and cases and can quickly determine if your situation is indeed deserving of a lawsuit. There are a number things that have to have happened in order for a case like this to go ahead and more importantly, that the patient did nothing wrong on their own outside of, or directly to the opposite, the directions of the care provider.